Thursday, December 31

Get yer hair cut

No, I'm not going to spare you the embarrassing old photos... and they get worse than this. Much worse.

This is around '92 I think, posing on my '81 XLS Sporty (with the factory extended forks) outside our flat in London.

Cut-off? Yeah mate, dunno whether I was trying to be 60s outlaw or Bon Jovi that week...

(PS. I published this post, then realised the title hadn't been an accident, but the result of a long-forgotten memory still lurking in my subconscious: The old man in the flat above us had Alzheimer's, and was a charming East End Jewish gent one day, then a raving – and amusing – nutbag the next. He used to lean out of the window when I was cleaning the bike and scream "Get yer fuckin' hair cut!". And in all his craziness... he was right.)

Wednesday, December 30

GK in Vibes!

Vibes from Japan is one of my all-time favourite chopper mags, so when I got an email from Mino at the mag asking if he could do a feature on GK in its pages, I was stoked.

Anyway, I got a nice package from Mino today, and it turns out GK is featured as part of a big new year review of the world's chopper mags... so even though we got a tiny quarter page near the back (with the dodgy Thai mags), it's still pretty cool I reckon. Even to be discussed in the same breath as long-established titles like Easyriders, Street Chopper, Iron Horse and BSH makes me proud.

Tuesday, December 29

Buzz's UL... on the road

Hope you all had a crackin' Christmas. Now the mince pies have been eaten and the mulled wine quaffed, it's time to look forward to new feature bikes in 2010. You may remember my good Aussie friend Buzz's UL from a few weeks back... well it's on the road now, and I've even seen the photo that Buzz sent me reproduced on other Blogs, so it must be getting a great reaction.

Here's a preview of the shoot coming up in GK soon... and proof that the new GK tees are finding favour as far away as Australia!

Tuesday, December 22

Shutting down for Xmas

Well, I'm just about done in. It's been a crazy year... I moved around the world, had a daughter, lost a dog, sold a Pan, bought a Pan, and went from prawns on the barbie in 110 degree heat at Christmas to roast turkey on the table with snow outside.

Thank you for reading the Blog and special thanks to those of you who bother to comment on the stuff I post. I hope you all get a chance to put your feet up, and I'll be back after a short break.

I'll leave you with 'the other' Mike D's amazing Panhead... coming to you in GK's pages soon in 2010.

Monday, December 21

Rage beats X Factor for UK chart no.1

Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine said: “We are very, very ecstatic about being No 1.”

If you're in the UK and downloaded the track, good on ya.

It doesn't matter which record company gets the money. That's not the point. The point is that half a million people were affronted enough by the cynicism and presumption of the X Factor producers that their manufactured pop person would get to No.1 in the charts at Christmas that they took action.

The seemingly unstoppable wave of mediocrity generated by X Factor has been overcome, and real music with a message wins. And the message is: "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!".

Rage Against the Machine have pledged to give all profits of the single to the homelessness charity Shelter, and will perform a free victory gig in the UK to thank those who bought their single.

Sunday, December 20

Dr Who

Clay Rathburn builds some extraordinarily clean Triumphs (yes, another one!)... this one's in the next issue. It's called Dr Who... I didn't even know Dr Who was shown in America. I met Tom Baker once... he's as mad and as funny as you'd imagine.

Saturday, December 19

Snob and the Shovel

I'd known Snob (Alan Fisher) since the early nineties when I used to take my succession of ratty Ironhead Sportsters to his shop in Ealing for advice and parts. So when I decided to put my swingarm Shovel into a Santee rigid, I turned to him for help.

Snob had built an awesome rigid Pan I'd always admired ... I remember him and the London HA turning up en masse at a bar in London; what an awesome sight! – and I reckoned he'd be sympathetic to what I was trying to do.

He's an intriguing and amusing man, and it's doubly interesting to me how he ended up in the club (must be 25 years now) considering his background and boarding school education.

These photos were taken outside the shop he moved to near the Ace Cafe on the North Circular.

I owned this Shovel for six years and it ended up being featured in The Horse and American-V magazines. And funnily enough I recently met a bloke who's a friend of the guy I sold it to in 2000... he still has it and it's running well apparently.

Friday, December 18

If you just ordered a mag or t-shirt from Cali...

... or Oz, or anywhere hot, spare a thought for us at GK HQ. Don't think the Pan will be coming out today...

Thursday, December 17

Where to be in June 2010

Talked to Mike D yesterday and this show sounds as if it's going to be amazing. Not least because they'll be raffling off a 1950 Panhead chopper! And believe me, it will be as rigorously righteous as any period bike can be, with all the right parts, and paint by ... well, perhaps I shouldn't say any more!

Make a date in your diary!

They're coming out of the woodwork...

... what is it with super-nice Triumphs at the moment? Here's another one we're featuring soon. Dave Herren shot this feature for us... and this one floats my boat big-time.

Wednesday, December 16

I'm wading in paper

You'd think being a mag publisher would have cured me ... but no, I am still ankle deep in bike magazines from all over the world, all over the house. I love 'em, and am amazed at people who pay to view online content: there's nothing like owning and handling something tangible in exchange for your cash.

Having said that, I will have to thin the pile out in the new year. I am unable to chuck anything away... it's a disease.

More Minnow

Brian H's Pan, Josh K's photos, Guysie B's magazine, issue 13, good things come to those who wait (DHL, you listening?).

Chuck's bike makes me feel funny... a good way.

I love it... this Triumph is on another level for me. The stance, the details, the muscly squatness of it. Another great GK feature bike, coming your way soon.

(I figure as long as I'm still getting genuinely excited about the bikes we're bringing you, that's a healthy thing, right?)

Tuesday, December 15

Reverse head Triumph

I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't dig Pete Stansfield's reverse-head Triumph (issue 11). I was over at his place yesterday and his new shovel project is going to be nice.

Monday, December 14

Ollie's Pan from Belgium

If you've delved into this Blog before, you'll know why this appeals to me. Coming in the next issue.

Sunday, December 13

I need some Big Daddy in my life

Anyone got one lying around the garage they want to offload? Don't worry, I'm not going to add 'cheap'...

Saturday, December 12

I was so happy being able to afford a Harley Big Twin

1993 was when Sporty ownership finally gave way to getting my first Shovel. It had every chrome doodad imaginable, and had been rebuilt by a well known Suffolk shop, including addition of a final belt drive. These photos were taken by a friend within a couple of weeks of me bringing it home... I'd stripped off the front fender and p-pad, but still had the spotlights in place.

It was the most reliable and rideable shovel I've owned, and someone else saw its appeal... it was stolen in London after 18 months. Check out the plaid shirt and old 60s poly lid... what a trendsetting mofo!

Friday, December 11

Fuck you, ain't gonna do what you tell me

In case you hadn't heard (and it's now a mainstream news item here), there's people power and genius at work in England to stop the wave of X-Factor mediocrity from topping the music charts over Christmas.

Some friends started a campaign to get Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" to the top of the charts (they have close to 600,000 supporters now on Facebook) as a protest at the way X-Factor is forcing the nation to buy its music through sheer media domination.

I'm going to be downloading the RATM track on Monday 14 December to help the cause. If you live in the UK, spend £2 to buy one of the greatest protest songs ever – and to stop the man above making another million.

More info HERE.

Thursday, December 10

Bello Beesa

I'm not a huge fan of long bikes, but Roby Roberto's BSA does it for me. I saw it for myself at the Jesolo show this year, and it's a beautifully engineered and clean bike with nice touches and the right lines.

We'll be bringing it to the pages of GK soon.

Wednesday, December 9

Dresda-Davidson anyone?

Oh yes...! My brother Adam shot Shane's gorgeous special for an upcoming issue of GK. Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 8

Takuji Kawamura's Panhead... again

I loved this bike as soon as I saw it on Matt & Dean's blog... and the judges at the New Order Show loved it too: it won the builder's choice award this year.

Takuji Kawamura owns the bike and emailed me this morning about it. Built at Ace Motorcycles, it features many tastefully modified stock and completely custom parts, with some lovely, highly individual touches. Anyway, I know DicE have featured it this month, but we'll be taking our own spin on this crackin' '57 soon.

Check out Kawamura's blog, with some more great build-up photos here:


Monday, December 7

Norrtälje custom bike show

It's a show I've always wanted to go to... and you can see why from these pics.

Maybe next year?

We'll have wider coverage of the June 2009 show in issue 13, courtesy of Sampo Korhonen!

Ian Astbury on a Guzzi

Another old pic from the album, this is '91... a year of listening to too much Cult and not earning enough for a big twin Harley, hence this big ol' lump of Italian muscle. Even though it was a stand-in, it was a lovely, capable bike, and I used it every day to commute to work. I liked the linked brake system and the way the transverse v-twin made the bike shake in the opposite way to a Harley. It sparked a love of Guzzis (though I haven't owned one since).

Note that I stripped off the T3 California's screen and the big seat, replacing it with a rare police solo seat. I had the right idea...

Sunday, December 6

The Hatch effect

His flattrackin' Sporty was awesome... his krusty Triumph in issue 1 was an inspiration... and Steve Hatcher crops up yet again in the back story to Andrew Lindloff's super-sanitary yellow Triumph in the current issue.

Hatch provided the project bike, as well as advice and various other cool bits to help Andrew complete the project. It seems that whatever he touches – from however far away – turns to choppin' gold.

I like humble, talented backyard builders like Hatch: they don't want the spotlight, but the quality and lines of their builds attracts it nevertheless...

Thursday, December 3

The first Ace Cafe reunion

Found a couple of pics from the first Ace Cafe reunion in '94. We went on my '76 shovel (see 'Lost in France' below) and apparently 12000 people attended. If you've seen the Ace Cafe recently, you'll realise just what a bombsite it used to be back then before Mark Wilsmore got hold of it.

I was nurturing my 'Terry the Tramp' look at the time, and wasn't into the whole 59 club/rocker thing at all, but lots of my friends were and it was enjoyable seeing all those old Brit twins peeling out of the car park.

Vancouver va-va-voom

Mark's rather splendid Trump will be in issue 13. Wait until you see that paint close up.

Wednesday, December 2

Lost in France

I haven't ridden in Europe for many years, but when I first met my missus – and she was still captivated by the novelty of going out with a motorcycle rider, and we didn't have a car – we rode onto the continent a few times.

French roads are beautiful (if you avoid Paris) and in '92 we went on my 1980 XLS Sporty (top), then in '94 on my '76 shovel. We never had any mechanical trouble (except for bits falling off), more through luck than any fastidious preparation on my part. People used to come out of their houses in villages to wave when they heard us coming.

Simple, good times.

Tuesday, December 1

The Morrie effect

Metaphorically, my web host's wig is now lying limply on his office floor. Normal service at the GK website is resumed.

So if you want a mag or a tee, check the link on the right.

(Quick, before I hafta pay 'em another visit).

Dean's Pan is gonna be nice

Can a man have too many cool vehicles?



I've gone down... and I've gone down hard.

The GK website is down... server problems with my fucking hopeless host UK2.

Sorry to all who are trying to buy the new issue or tees and have emailed me.

I hope it'll be back up soon... but who knows with these jokers? I'll be moving to another host when the dust settles, so webmasters please feel free to give me some recommendations.